This article, by Paragon's Douglas Vargo, was originally published in CIO Review Magazine.
Digital technologies are revolutionizing the way we live and work. From smartphones and tablets to IoT devices such as smart thermostats and driverless cars, the world is changing at a breathtaking pace. Whether you like it or not, it is changing your business, too.
Organizations need to establish a digital transformation strategy to ensure that they are responding to these changes and keeping pace with the marketplace.
While the old adage of finding the right information, at the right time for the right person still holds true, delivering on this is becoming more and more complex based on the changing digital landscape and increasingly rapid evolution of document management technologies. Today, organizations must think about the most efficient ways to find the right information, at the right time for the right person – on any device in a certain location, 24/7.
What is Document Management? According to AIIM, a global community of information professionals, document management is how your organization stores, manages and tracks its electronic documents. Winning organizations need to be truly digital enterprises - those that optimize their operations with document management solutions and strategies designed to automate manual processes, and increase collaborative capabilities to streamline and improve operating in an ever-emerging digital business environment. In the survey The Digital Office: Improving The Way We Work, AIIM takes a snapshot of the modern office, concentrating on the issues raised around sharing, filing, and approving documents – all key components of document management.
What did the findings reveal?
In today's enterprises, there are often disparate collaboration services, document sharing solutions and workflow products that are neither interconnected nor integrated. Moreover, it was found that:
- 56% have an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) or SharePoint system, but staff mostly use the file-share day-to-day.
- 55% do make use of shared folders for meeting support documents.
- 35% use open documents to collect input during meetings.
- 22% use automated circulation of agendas and minutes.
- 71% share via the network drive, and 15% via a cloud file share.
- 48% of respondents feel their users aren’t given an easy choice of where to file things.
- 31% feel that their ECM or SharePoint systems are too cumbersome.
- 40% want a simpler way to sign contracts, etc., with customers.
- 32% agree the need to extend approvals capability to mobile devices.
Currently, more and more enterprises have begun to experience digital disruption and are thus undergoing transformational changes to meet the increasing demands of consumerization in the workplace. There is an increasing focus on digitally transforming business operations such as the momentum to adopt team collaboration systems, cloud file-shares, workplace social platforms, conferencing and unified communications, scan-to-workflow, forms management, e-signatures, and document collaboration products.
With global research firm IDC projecting that digital content will grow over 50 times between 2010 to 2020—and an understanding that 90 percent of it will continue to be generated as unstructured information such as emails, documents and video—the stark reality is that document management is changing at unprecedented speed. Several factors influencing the rapid acceleration of document management technologies, solutions and strategies include:
- Millennials, individuals 18 to 33 years old, have grown up with digital technologies and expect the companies they do business with to be digitally savvy. In 2016, Millennials will total more than 80 million people, outnumbering the Baby Boom Generation by seven million and making them the largest age group to emerge since the Boomers and the largest generation in the workforce today. Businesses need to think about transforming how they manage content for the increasingly millennial workforce.
- Firms are maintaining legacy applications that are of low value to the business, but often must be maintained to ensure access to the data they hold which is often required to meet compliance regulations and support reporting, audit or legacy discovery. These applications are often no longer supported by the vendor or are on legacy infrastructure and require specialized knowledge to maintain. As a result, they are expensive to retain and may represent a risk to the organization.
- The digital universe is growing 40 percent a year into the next decade, expanding to include not only the increasing number of people and enterprises doing everything online, but also all the —smart devices—connected to the Internet, unleashing a new wave of opportunities for businesses and people around the world.
- Many organizations — particularly those in the banking, brokerage, pharmaceutical, insurance, manufacturing, telecom and public sector — are facing massive pressure to comply with regulations and rules that apply to multinationals and public companies generating vast volumes of data from multiple applications, particularly applications that manage personally identifiable information. What's more, large enterprises that generate substantial and growing volumes of data from business applications must comply with a wide range of legal, business and regulatory requirements that include long-term data retention policies. Businesses today now risk fines, sanctions or reputational damage if data is not retained or secured for the entire document lifecycle.
- As the business landscape increasingly moves into new platforms, vast oceans of data gush in and out of every enterprise with the undeniable force of the tides. Successfully migrating data without compromising its integrity and accessibility, and effectively managing that data after its migration, is essential to the longevity of a business.
With an increasing focus on mobility, advanced workflow and integration and analytics, there is no question ECM is digital transforming to embrace – and empower – the demands of the digital enterprise. So, while ECM is transforming in a disruptive manner, only organizations that either have the right policies, people, processes and technologies in place, or those that develop strategies to harness these changes, will be able to leverage this transformation in a way that overcomes the risks and delivers value to internal and external customers.